Thursday, November 25, 2004

The No South Strategy

No Democrat has ever won the Presidency without carrying at least one state of the old Confederacy, or old South (which are those I said in an earlier post can get stuffed). Kerry aimed to be the first to do so, and designed his strategy around the fact that the Democrats are not currently competitive in national elections in the old South. Instead, he bet on winning the upper Midwest, including Ohio and Iowa, and the Southwest, possibly including New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. If he had actually won a few of those states, or even just Ohio, his strategy would have paid off, too.

Kerry’s run has pointed the party toward basing the party’s national asperations on domination of the NE and West Coast, and competitiveness in the Midwest and Southwest. The latter will be critical areas in which to learn how to appeal to rural and exurban voters and in which hone our appeal to fast growing Western Ideopoli, such as Phoenix and Austin, some of the few urban areas where the GOP kicked our rumps. We will need to work at crafting regional messages that can win the states of these regions as a block, instead of trying to pick them up state-by-state.

In the Southwest, at least, I think that means adopting NM Gov. Bill Richardson’s plan for an early regional primary including Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado (I would like to see Nevada, Oregon, Washington and possibly California in there, as well, to give the primary more delegate weight) to follow soon after New Hampshire. As much as I lament the ongoing front-loading of the primary cycle, it is critical that our 2008 nominee have a wide and universal appeal in the West if he or she is to be successful in the General. The West must become a future part of the Democratic base, and such a regional primary would nudge the party into addressing Western and rural issues in its core messages and a Western sensibility into its primary framing.

In the 2004 primaries we had a few Western states early in the schedule, but they were treated like stepping stones to Super-Tuesday. The candidates each cherry-picked a state they though they could win in order to stay viable and ignored the others. I would like to see a strong showing in a Western regional primary be a much more important kingmaker than Super-Tuesday. After all, Super-Tuesday is a relic of the Dixiecrat era, and the product of that long-defected or dead faction to dominate the nomination process. Besides Florida and maybe Louisiana, the Democrats no longer have any realistic near-term hope of winning Super-Tuesday states in the presidential election; so why should we allow their tastes dominate our nomination process?

Richardson’s idea isn’t new; Gov. Leavitt of UT attempted to organize a Western primary of 10 states in 2000. But with Kerry’s kissing off of the South, it is an idea whose time has come in 2008. Democrats need to winnow their candidates though the judgement of voters from a region we can and must win. Hopefully, whomever becomes DNC chair (fingers crossed for Dean, here) will see that it is time to seriously shake up the nomination process. We should be open to persuading Iowa to either surrender or share its place as the opening act with other Midwestern states (which I believe Dean would be willing to do). We should create early regional primaries in the areas that are priorities in our national strategy, i.e. where we are counting on swing states coming our way, such as the Upper Midwest, and the Southwest; areas where we want to improve such as the Big States (IL, OH, PA, FL, TX, CA, NY); or states which are part of our base, but where our margin has been slipping, such as California.

Part of restructuring the message of the Democratic Party to take back a majority is reshaping our primary processes to ensure our candidates have appeal to the voters we need on our side. I am not content to wait for demographic changes to swing the pendulum back to our side, I want the Presidency and Congress back ASAP.

4 Comments:

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Frank said...

If you expect anyone to listen to democrats or even consider voting for democrats, you must have a better message then, vote for us because we are the good guys and everybody else isn't.

How can you expect anyone to consider that democrats stand for the people when their leadership doesn't? There is great rhetoric form the party, but rhetoric goes nowhere. For years the democratic leadership has been given a way to take over the congress and fulfills the democratic agenda and has ignored it. Discoveries have been made in the structure of our government systems that would make it possible to fix social security even raise it, provide health care to not just the uninsured but all 300 million of our people, fund education as well as all our social programs. And on top of that doesn't cost anything or even require the congress to do anything to achieve it. Does the democratic party care, “NO”. If the democratic party won't take advantage of something like this. Who do you think you are kidding.

If we can force the democratic party to actually take steps to serve the people instead of taking about wanting to serve the people, we just may resolve the parties disconnect with the people. Rhetoric is a sorry excuse for non action.......

Actually fulfilling the democratic agenda in a republican controlled congress and executive branch, means you have a message the people want. Action instead of words...........

If you are interested in the details its in this blog:

http://www.democrats.us/beta/forum/view_topic.php?id=2087&forum_id=12

Frank Houck
396 Park Way
Chula Vista, ca. 91910
619 691 1692
fkhouck@mailaka.net

 
At 5:16 PM, Blogger Tiny Montgomery said...

Of course, powerful action from the Democrats would be ideal. But I'm with Michael on this one. Restructuring the Democratic message is an essential precursor to powerful action. Democrats desparately need to improve their message. We need to rebrand ourselves so the average person on the street has a positive reaction to Democrats on a subconscious, eviseral level. A tall order indeed. But actions are unlikely to happen in the absence of this change. Many people simply don't react to seemingly important concepts such as "issues" or "facts." If they did, Kerry would have won in a landslide what with all the horrendous "facts" and "issues" on his side.

 
At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Reform Democrat. Find out Why I am a Reform Democrat and join the discussion on modernizing the DNC:

Kos - www.dailykos.com/story/2004/11/29/123721/08MyDD - www.mydd.com/story/2004/11/29/123811/70CfA - www.changeforamerica.com/community/node/view/2056For more information, see "I am a Reform Democrat":

NDN Blog - www.ndnblog.org/archives/000708.htmlBfA - www.blogforamerica.com/archives/005569.htmlKos - www.dailykos.com/story/2004/11/18/14187/373MyDD - www.blogswarm.mydd.com/story/2004/11/18/141756/14CfA - www.changeforamerica.com/community/node/view/1961I am a Reform Democrat.

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Frank said...

Looking for someone that is interested in investigating this issue. Could you pass it along if you are not?

Thank You.


How can we expect anyone to consider that democrats stand for the people when their leadership doesn't? There is great rhetoric from the party, but rhetoric goes nowhere. For years the democratic leadership has been given a way to take over the congress and fulfill the democratic agenda and has ignored it. Discoveries have been made in the structure of our government systems that would make it possible to fix social security even raise it, provide health care to not just the uninsured but all 300 million of our
people, fund education as well as all our social programs. And on top of that doesn't cost anything or even require the congress to do anything to achieve it. Does the democratic party care, “NO”. If the democratic party won't take advantage of something like this. Who do you think we are kidding.

If we can force the democratic party to actually take steps to serve the people instead of talking about wanting to serve the people, we just may resolve the parties disconnect with the people. Rhetoric is a sorry excuse for non action.......

Actually fulfilling the democratic agenda in a republican controlled congress and executive branch, means you have a message the people want. Action instead of words...........

If you are interested in seeing this happen, pass this e-mail to at least two other people or post it in two other blogs. We need to win back the people with actions not promises....

If you are interested in the details its in this blog:

http://www.democrats.us/beta/forum/view_topic.php?id=2087&forum_id=12

Frank Houck
396 Park Way
Chula Vista, ca. 91910
619 691 1692
fkhouck@mailaka.net

 

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